It appears the Academic Framework Working Group will have a few more meetings heading into September. They will be finalizing their decisions at their September 23rd meeting. Today I had a very cordial email exchange with Penny Schwinn, the Chief Officer of Performance & Accountability at the Department of Education. I found out the next three meetings will be on 9/2, 9/17 and 9/23 and I asked Penny Schwinn if they could be made public and for more stakeholders added to this group.
Schwinn indicated other than the non-negotiable items mandated by the US DOE, which have to be in there, the other items have not been finalized, including the participation rate penalty and the growth measures. She said no weights for the school report card have been finalized at this point as well. I did share with her that I felt far too much weight, as proposed based on their March meeting, is tied to the Smarter Balanced Assessment results. In addition, I did advise her more of the school culture, such as suspension & expulsion rates and even bullying statistics should be added, as this is a frequent concern for parents in any school choice.
Schwinn also shared that all Delaware Superintendents will receive emails about the next few meetings and all have been invited to attend. She did not say anything about the Board members in each district, but I did request the Board Presidents be emailed as well since they have a large say in district matters as well. I also asked if the meetings could be recorded and released on the DOE website to show a level of transparency for the public.
This measure the AFWG wants to have with a participation rates for standardized testing being multiplied by the school’s academic performance is a punishment against schools. It is out of the school’s hands if a parent opts their child out. It is 100% a parent’s right and their decision. Penny Schwinn did indicate she is more than happy to receive public input on this matter and anything associated with the school report card and welcomes any input. So please email Penny Schwinn and the accountability department at the Delaware DOE, DOEAccountability@doe.k12.de.us and include me in the cc: section with email@example.com so I can get an accurate feel for the opposition to this punishing measure.
I suspect the State Board of Education will attempt to vote on this at their October meeting, without true stakeholder input. This could be very damaging for our schools and teachers and students. A poor grade for a school can cause a lot of public perception to sway parents towards one school or another. This School Report Card is vastly weighted with the results of the Smarter Balanced Assessment, which can not and should not be a determining factor for how good or bad a school might be.
As well, email your legislator, the Delaware PTA, the school board in your district, and anyone who you think might be able to oppose this. If you have children in Delaware public schools, talk to other parents. Let the principal know you oppose this. MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD! Whether you support or oppose opt-out, this is not an accurate measurement of a school!